September’s Over? Already?

I can’t believe that it’s already the end of the month.  And that Christmas is less than 3 months away.  Seriously, this year has gone by so quickly and I remember so little of it.  Between training/races, vacations/trips, and life 2011 is going by in a blur.  

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been absent for much of September.  It’s not that I’ve disappeared entirely – I’ve been lurking; check your stats – but I’ve definitely taken a break.  After Hood To Coast I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  I touched on it briefly, but this introvert over-extended herself big-time during those 3 days.  It didn’t seem like it at the time and I’m sure my teammates didn’t really notice it.  However, I came home and holed up for a week – thankfully my family understands and leaves me alone.  Spud didn’t quite get that Mummy really needed not to be climbed all over, but obviously he missed me so I couldn’t quite begrudge him that.

A few things have happened since HTC:

1.  I quit my half marathon clinic.  If I’m honest with myself I never should have signed up in the first place.  I know how hard it is to train during the summer and I thought that the clinic would hold me accountable.  It didn’t.  First, I work on Sundays which is typically my long run day.  Second, Colin had to work a bunch of overtime and I was missing my weekly clinic night.  Third, I could never make it to the mid-week run at the store since Colin doesn’t get home early enough.  So, if you read that over again, you’ll see that I was missing all of my scheduled group runs.  And I just wasn’t going out by myself like I thought I was going to.  When I came home from Oregon I contacted the leader and let her know that I wouldn’t be returning.  And it felt great.  I think that I was unconsciously stressing about it and it felt like such a relief when I finally admitted that it just wasn’t working out.

2.  I’m not enrolling in any other training this year.  Sure, I could sign up for the clinic that takes me through to a February race.  But I still have the same issues and they aren’t going to go away before the new year.  

3.  I’m learning to love running again.  Yup, you read that right.  I burned out this summer.  Looking back I’m not surprised.  I’ve been enrolled in clinic after clinic since May 2009.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  I even mentioned it at our dinner at Nuun HQ in Seattle and asked that they bear with me.  That race was kind of my last hurrah before checking out.  Now I’m just back to running for time instead of pace/distance and getting my runs per week back up to 3-4.

4.  I took September off.  As in I ran 3 times.  And it was great.  Except for the consequences.  Over the summer my brain still said that I’m “in training” and my stomach agreed, which was unfortunate for my hips, butt and thighs.  Let’s just say that I’m no longer even close to being at “racing weight.”  Another issue with taking time off is that my fitness level has gone to crap.  Walk breaks have always been my friend, but now they are more frequent.  My legs feel like they’re on fire when I’m barely going up a little hill.  I suck wind like I sucked nitrous oxide when I was having contractions.  Honestly it feels like I’m starting all over again.  I’m sure in a few weeks it’ll be like I never stopped, but it’s hard right now.  No wonder people try and give up on running so quickly.

5.  Spud started playschool this week.  He loves it and I love that I can go running without pushing the stroller.  A win-win for both of us!

6.  I’m dabbling in the world of Twitter – @lovemyrunners.  Since I don’t have a phone to read it on it’s not hugely practical right now and most of what I’m doing is following and trying to get a handle on the whole thing.  Unfortunately I missed the tutorial that went on in our HTC van.  You can follow me – not that I’ve tweeted yet – and I’ll reciprocate.  

So that’s my life in a nutshell right now.  I’m sure October will be better for my running (mentally) even if I’m getting back into it right as it’s supposed to rain ALL THE TIME.  I have a feeling that during the next few months I’ll have a lot of “dig deep and find myself” moments.

Anyone else burn out before?  How did you find your way back to running?  How long did it take?


4 responses

  1. Burn out… yeah… I've been there 🙂 Is there any other sort of physical something that sounds appealing and doable right now? I'd play around with that… it's what has helped me in the past. I was hurt for 8 years and did pretty much nothing except for a little bit of yoga for about a year in there somewhere. It took me about 2 mos to be able to run 5K without feeling like I was going to die. About 6 mos after I started, I was able to run 10 miles. You'll find the joy and the groove again, Alanna. I have confidence in that. And in the meantime, there is NOTHING wrong with taking a breather. Be good to yourself 🙂

    October 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

  2. I think it's great to have a break. First of all, I find that when I run a lot, my whole identity becomes wrapped up in who I am as a a runner. And running is not who you are. It just happens to be a small part of the bigger picture. I think it's okay to suck at running for the time that you take it off. You're not training, so what do you expect? How about you enjoy it? Look at the fall leaves a little? Heck, even stop and look at an acorn or two. Enjoy your runs…your peace and quiet…until you're ready to go again. All the best!

    October 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

  3. Amy

    Sometimes you just need a break! I think I ran two or three times in September, plus a couple of trips to the gym but didn't keep track this month. I needed a break from plans and spreadsheets!

    October 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  4. When I took about 2.5-3 weeks off in September I could really tell a huge difference when i started running again. My first run back was 3 miles and I was DYING. I did a 18 miler a few weeks before and I was dying running 3 miles. It was a horrible feeling. I'm slowly getting back but have been lacking motivation until a few days ago.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

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